Volleyball season ends in split

Courtney Scrib

Looking at the numbers, the women’s volleyball team’s season may not appear to have been a winning one. However, with all of the setbacks the players and coaches endured these past few months and the resilience and passion they continually showed in spite of these difficulties, they deserve to be called champions.

“The season could be described as us being bombarded by waves of losses, injuries and tragedies,” Celine Nguyen said. “But we kept peddling along and pushing our way through to finally emerge atop of the surface, proud of what we’ve accomplished.”

Going into the final two matches of the season last weekend at home, the Wildcats knew their chances of qualifying for the Big East tournament had passed, yet they took the court with the same tenacity as always. After defeating Seton Hall, 3-1, on Friday, Villanova saw its two game winning-streak come to an end on Sunday after the team fell to Rutgers, 1-3.

“It was a good ending for our season,” Coach Gilad Doron said. “It felt good to get a win against Seton Hall. A couple points went the other way in the Rutgers game, but the girls kept fighting. That’s something they’ve done all season.”

In Friday night’s victory over Seton Hall, Villanova collected 27 kills and hit .377 percent in the first game to gain a 1-0 advantage. After the Pirates rallied back to take the second game, the Wildcats added 41 more kills in the next two games to come away with the win (33-31, 21-30, 30-27, 30-28).

“Our win against Seton Hall was proof that we are more than capable of competing against teams in the Big East,” Nguyen said.

Throughout the season, Nyugyen proved that individually she also was more than capable of playing at a high intensity level. During the Seton Hall match, the junior outside hitter led the Wildcats with 21 kills and 24 digs.

“Celine always plays hard,” Coach Gilad Doron said. “She just had a great season overall.”

Junior outside hitter Dana Kabashima and sophomore middle blocker Adrian Semrau also had solid performances against the Pirates as they each recorded 17 kills. Freshman Kacy Sellers added another 14 kills, as well as had the team’s only three service aces of the night.

After being down two games in Sunday’s match against Rutgers, the Wildcats pulled together to force a fourth game. Despite a hard effort, the team was unable to pull away and ultimately fell to the Scarlet Knights by scores of 26-30, 29-31, 30-27, 29-31.

“As our coach told us, sometimes when you lose, you actually win because no matter what our record reflects as a team, we learned so much and were constantly improving and growing throughout the whole season,” Nguyen said.

Once again Nguyen and Kabashima played key roles for Villanova, as they both registered double-doubles. Seniors Katie Lant ing and Kerri Sullivan, who, along with Sam Hartwell, were honored prior to the match in the Senior Day ceremony, contributed six and seven kills, respectively.

“It’s a shame that they never fully recovered [from their injuries] for their senior year, but I know they’ll be successful wherever they go,” Doron said. “We’re definitely going to miss them.”

Having ended the 2004 season with a 9-18 overall record and 3-7 in conference action, the team is already planning for ways to be stronger next season.

“We’re going to come up with a spring schedule so that the girls will be able to work on individual skills,” Doron said. “Hopefully, with the new crew coming in, we can expect to build on this year and improve.”

Nevertheless, for a team that never seemed to a get a break, the players and coaches hold no regrets about the events that unfolded this year.

“Even though our season didn’t have a fairy tale ending, it was still a happy one that we are all proud of,” Nguyen said.